Is it worth it?: Criminologist dissects Regina police reward

When it comes to solving the Regina murder of a man tied to a "violent drug network," a cash reward likely won't produce a smoking gun. At least, not directly, according to criminologist Kevin Walby.

Reward might prove useful in a roundabout way, Kevin Walby says

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray says "hundreds of hours" of investigation have gone into solving the August 2016 murder of Abdisalam Dahir Nur. (Brian Rodgers)

When it comes to solving the Regina murder of a man tied to a "violent drug network," a cash reward likely won't produce a smoking gun. At least, not directly. 

That's according to Kevin Walby, who studies policing as a criminologist at the University of Winnipeg.

Still, the strategy could pay dividends, he said.

Last week, Regina's police commissioners authorized the city's force to issue a $25,000 reward for information pertaining to the murder of Abdisalam Dahir Nur.

Nur, a 27-year-old Edmonton man, was found dead on Regina's McDonald Street in August 2016, and police have been investigating ever since.

Someone knows something

"We do have people we've spoken to on this file that we know have information," Police Chief Evan Bray told reporters.

"However, there's a real fear of coming forward," he said, noting that the force hoped to use the reward as a "catalyst."

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray says, given the violent nature of the case surrounding the death of Abdisalam Dahir Nur, those with information may be fearful to come forward. (CBC)

The reward would be paid out following a conviction, according to the application guidelines listed by police, which note that applicants may need to testify and no confidentiality will be offered.

As such, the reward is unlikely to be successful, as advertised, said Walby, echoing Bray as he spoke of the "intimidation factor" associated with violent crime.

"People are very unlikely to come forward," he said.

"You're asking that person who may have a little bit of information, which may stand up as evidence, could possibly get a conviction, to take a big step and really upset everything in their life — basically go into hiding."

Nur's murder will be the third active case in which police are offering a reward for information. The longest running of the three — the dissapearance of Tamra Keepness — dates back to 2004.

Generating interest

However, the reward may prove to be a catalyst nonetheless, Walby said.

"I don't know if the reward message and story from police is actually meant to produce good tips," he said.

"I think it gets the story back on the front page. I think it gets people talking about it again."

The public interest, he said, can help generate "synergies" between "powerful" intelligence units of both police and corrections.

Such collaborations allow law enforcement agencies joint access to a larger network of potential sources and information gathering techniques, he said.

The Regina police have already done some collaborative work on the case, including with Edmonton police, according to Bray, who said "hundreds of hours of investigation have gone into this."

He noted that his force has a "robust plan" for shielding sources who might come forward with information, including the option of witness protection.

With files from Stephanie Taylor